It’s Friday, and that’s a very good thing.


I’m particularly excited about today because the only things on my to-do list are:

  • Half day at the office
  • Company Christmas party over lunch
  • Some serious last minute Christmas shopping
  • Lots of wine and gift wrapping

But for now, let’s get into Friday Favorites!

1 // This Post from Amber (Mr. Thomas & Me) on When Advent Hurts // This girl. I love her and all her words. She writes with such honesty and grace, and this post meant so much to me. I soaked in every last word.

2 // First Post-Marathon Run // It was a cool, crisp night, and a great run with a small group of friends and TAYLOR. I know. You’re shocked. We set out on a 4 mile run in search of Christmas lights and found next to nothing, which was a little disappointing, but the run itself felt great. (PS – Taylor hates me for making him run but what else is new?)

Afterwards, we celebrated with a greasy burgers and sweet potato fries.

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3 // This Recipe for World’s Best Chicken // I made this super easy chicken recipe Monday night with red potatoes and green beans, and it was a huge hit. Taylor loved it, I loved it. So easy, so cheap, so delicious.

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4 // Time Magazine’s Podcast Suggestions // Serial is OVER. So what the hell am I supposed to do with all of my free time? TIME MAGAZINE KNOWS. Getting lost in a world of new podcasts in 2015 is exactly what I intend to do.


5 // KKITM Breaking & Entering Christmas // OK. Tears. All over. My face. I’ve been listening to this radio show since I was a kid, and every year this gets me. This family’s story was heart breaking, but I love this season and this time of giving.


And one more for good measure - this video of people getting puppies for Christmas morning. Because PUPPIES.


What can I say? I’m a little sappy today.








  • The puppies, man. The puppies got me. Damnit.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      DON’T CRY. But I know you want to.ReplyCancel

  • That video of the puppies – SO cute!! I saw it on Facebook the other day and cried the whole way through. So much happiness.ReplyCancel

  • Chels

    mmm have not had a smash burger in ages! I love their veggie burger though! Happy Friday neighbor!ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      Yes, their black bean burger is fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • I am so sad that Serial is over!! I cannot wait for the next season. We had Smash Burger for the first time last month and it is so good! Congratulations on your marathon, that is hard work!!ReplyCancel

  • Welp better add Smash Burger to places I need to hit up when I get home. Fun facet: My mom used to actually do the customer service surveys just because you get free sweet potato fries. I was always embarrassed when she busted about the coupon but I never complain about free fries.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney

    Fact not facet. That’s embarrassing.ReplyCancel

I’m grumpy because Taylor hogged all the covers last night and because it was three degrees in our apartment I essentially woke up a human popsicle. And that doesn’t bring out the best in me.

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So now that we’ve started off on the right foot, join me in my tirade of nonsensical first world problems.

GRIEVANCE #1 | Last night I was supposed to wrap Christmas presents while sipping hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie with Taylor by the twinkling lights of the tree. I HAD A PLAN DAMMIT. A whimsical, well thought out, PLAN.

Except that I didn’t have any tissue paper. OK. Minor problem. I’ll just put everything in it’s appropriate bag and buy some later. No big. Then I was like, “Oh Taylor, we’re going to watch a Christmas movie and it’ll be such a beautiful, memorable night that we will remember for the rest of our marriage.” And he was like, “NO I DON’T WANNA I HATE CHRISTMAS MOVIES THEY ARE ALL CHICK FLICKS.”


OK. Dramatic.

To which I replied something like, “Well, I’m the boss so we are gonna watch a Christmas movie.” But then he whined, and I whined, and it was just endless whining until finally he was like, “FINE, I’ll watch it, but I get to pick it out.” So I agreed and then laughed deviously because of course he’s totally right. Every Christmas movie I own is a chick flick.

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So eventually he decided on The Holiday (probably just because of Jack Black’s face on the cover). But I forgot that The Holiday really is a terrible movie and all it is is lots of talking and not enough Jude Law. Then at one point Taylor looked at me and said, “OMG why is Cameron Diaz still talking? Do you even know what she’s talking about?” and “Is that the girl from Titanic? How do you think she feels knowing we have all seen her boobs?” And then I fell asleep because that entire movie is literally all talk and no action and not really even that Christmasy.

So that evening was a fail. I did have cocoa though.

GRIEVANCE #2 | I don’t think I’ve eaten a single vegetable all week. I have, however, consumed lots of wine and m&m’s and slept in until 7am every morning and gone to work with heinous, disheveled bed head. Then when all my coworkers get all judgey I’m like:

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Oh did you run a marathon Sunday? No? Well I did. And I’m tired. So don’t talk to me.

GRIEVANCE #3 | My skin is so dry from “winter” (that’s what I’m choosing to call the last 48 hours in Texas where the low has been 45ish degrees) that I’ve been putting Aquaphor (basically petroleum jelly) on my face. ON MY FACE PEOPLE.


Gotta stay moisturized.

But I’m a super positive person so I also have a few things to be happy about.

HAPPY #1 | I stopped being sore yesterday. Obviously the wine and m&m’s are doing their job.

HAPPY #2 | I’m going on my first post-marathon run tonight. I will be super fast and there will be Christmas lights and it will be perfect. #unrealisticexpectations

HAPPY #3 | I’m almost done Christmas shopping. I’ll finish up Friday night and actually remember to buy tissue paper and then I’ll be DONE.

I think that’s all. Except that Christmas is in 7 days and I can’t focus on anything so the entire world needs to lower their expectations of me until 2015.

Oh and that I hope tall boots never go out of style and that Starbucks never goes out of business.




  • That last GIF had me all hahahahahahahaha.ReplyCancel

  • YOU NEED TO WATCH FOUR CHRISTMASES. Taylor will think it’s hilarious. Jason did. And I almost peed my pants laughing. (It does go RomCom at the end).


    Also, CeRaVe. That's what I use on my face. It's thick but not sticky or shiny. I HEART IT.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      I’ve seen it! I just don’t own it. And Taylor hates all things ever.

      GIMME THE CERAVE! Target? CVS?ReplyCancel

  • I love that you used that Community gif. Chang is the best. Also…..I may or may not use aquaphor on my face every single night. Please love me still? Oh, and Juliette wants me to tell you to please download this app game called Trivia Crack and I keep forgetting to text you, so I’m writing it here before I forget again. The universe needs to lower its expectations of me, as well, obviously.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      Dude I literally have been putting aquaphor, coconut oil, and ponds face cream. Like my face drinks it all up. WHAT.ReplyCancel


  • Chels

    You have every right to drink wine, eat m&ms and be lazy post marathon :) Soak it up!! Enjoy your run thru the Christmas lights!! I did that the other day while listening to Christmas music and it was marvelous!ReplyCancel

  • Wine and M&M’s are totally acceptable for all meals. duh.ReplyCancel

  • Raquel

    OH MY GOSH. Your memes are ALL on point! I’m seriously laughing out loud in my cubicle. Esp. at the first one. lolReplyCancel

  • Ok well I LOL’d at this whole thing. I watched The Holiday last Saturday night and I enjoyed it but that was probably the wine. And then Keith and I watched some of it because it was on tv the other night and he was like “this is stupid why are we watching it.” And then I tried to watch “It’s a wonderful life” because I’ve never seen it and it’s christmassy and he was like “lol NO” so I think taylor and keith would get along REALLY WELL.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for this post about The Holiday (and everything else in it that made me laugh out loud). Thank. You. For the life of me do not understand why so many people think that movie is so good. I love me so jack black and Kate winslet and I’ll watch it, maybe, but I don’t get why people associate it so strongly as a Christmas movie and why everyone thinks it’s thaaat good. I was beginning to think I missed something but thankfully I’m not the only one!ReplyCancel

  • Haha we literally had the same discussion about Christmas movies last night. Only my husband refused to watch any of them, fell asleep on the couch at 8pm and I didn’t feel like moving so I got sucked into multiple reality shows about tattoo artists. Sidenote: have you seen the one where the people come in that want their absolutely terrible tattoos fixed? It’s quite entertaining.ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      AHHHHH NO we don’t have cable so I don’t get to watch anything cool! But that sounds AWESOME. I love me some classic Christmas movies but it looks like I’ll be enjoying those solo!ReplyCancel

  • Deidre

    Tell Taylor “home alone” and “christmas vacation” are not chick flicks lol and i have some amazing face cream if you want to try it, text me I’ll send you a pic… hugs.ReplyCancel

  • I put ACTUAL petroleum jelly on my face this week. It’s been in the 30′s in Boston and all the heating systems in every building are super dry.ReplyCancel

Friday was a really good day.

Because after years of dreaming, and 8 months of hard work, this guy graduated from the academy and became an official firefighter for the City of Fort Worth.

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The graduation ceremony was held on Friday morning at a local church. It was the coolest thing in the world to get to witness not just my husband, but this entire group, land the career of their dreams. They are some of the greatest guys I’ve ever met, and I was just so damn proud that I felt like my heart might explode.

(You’re just going to have to do me a solid and forgive me for the horrible iPhone photos here. I was just way too busy beaming with pride to bother with high quality photography.)

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I got to pin Taylor’s badge on him, and even though I nearly stabbed him (badges are hard, y’all), it was a really special moment, and I cried some very happy tears.

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And now he’s OFFICIAL!

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Taylor, I have never been more proud of you. You are selfless, loving, and always so willing to serve. Your hard work and loyalty make you an incredible husband, but they’re also what will make you an incredible firefighter. The City of Fort Worth is lucky as hell to have you.

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So congratulations to my sweetheart, and to all of Class #74. And let the adventure begin!


PS – If you’re a firefighter wife, can I be in your club??? CALL ME. We’ll drink wine and play with matches.




All I really want to do right now is discuss with you, in great detail, how desperately I wanted to wear my fuzzy Crocs and yoga pants to work today. Desperately, y’all.


But instead, here’s a photo of me post-marathon. Fake smiling for the camera is my super power.

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Oy ve. What.A.Day.

I’m going to rewind a teeny tiny bit back to Saturday for the day before race activities. Also because photos were taken and they must be shared.

Saturday morning I slept in a little bit, and then threw on my sweatpants and headed to Starbucks for an overpriced breakfast. I also made a pit stop at the mailbox, so I got to enjoy Christmas cards from pretty people while sipping on my caramel brulee latte.

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I spent most of the day getting race ready and packing, until this girl came and picked me up that afternoon.

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Alli was kind enough to drive all the way from Dallas to Fort Worth, then back to Dallas, just so Taylor and I could ride back together after the race. She’s nice like that. Our first stop in the Big D was the expo for packet pickup.

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The expo was just blah, and Alli and I weren’t impressed by anything except the free samples of cheesy potato soup that Cotton Patch was giving out. Not to mention, expo parking was FIFTEEN DOLLARS, and we were only in there about fifteen minutes. I mean, come on Dallas.

After the expo, we were more than ready for dinner, so we headed over to Scalini’s for carbs, carbs, and more carbs.

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Italian food makes us very, very happy.




I ordered the cheesiest and greasiest dish I could think of – LASAGNA.

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And Alli ordered some fancy spicy chicken pasta which was unbelievably good.

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Afterwards, it was pretty clear we were in need of something sweet, so we stopped by Whole Foods for a banana bread parfait and creme brulee.

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After devouring ALL the sugar, I was in bed by 9, and asleep by ten. I don’t seem to get nervous about races until the actual race day, so I slept like a baby that night.

The next morning I was up by 5:30, and Alli dropped off by 6:45.

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Before the race, I met up with THIS GIRL who was running the half marathon. You might recognize her adorable face as the one who coordinated our wedding in April.

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Yesterday was Britni’s birthday, and she spent the last few months training for the half. Not only did she finish two minutes under her goal time, she also raised $500 for the A21 Campaign to end human trafficking. On her birthday! She’s really just the coolest.

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I also got to meet up with Emily, who I ran part of Cowtown with in February. She came all the way from Houston to run the half!

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After a lot of waiting around, the gun finally went off around 8:10.

I took off way too quickly. My watched showed my first few miles as sub 9′s, which I should’ve been more aware of, but by the time I realized it, I needed to make port-a-potty pit stop. But after that, everything basically went downhill.

I’m just going to say it – this wasn’t a good race for me. No, I didn’t train hard, but I did feel relatively strong during training. Nothing felt off, the runs weren’t too difficult, and I really was pretty optimistic for this race. Sub 4:20 seemed more than do-able, and my “plan” was to stick with the 4:15 pacer, and then pick up the pace in the end.

Yeah, that didn’t quite work out.

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Nothing felt right for this race. Nothing. Just a couple miles in, I started having trouble breathing. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, I could not get a full, deep breath in. My breathing was shallow, and it physically hurt. I would slow down to try to catch it, and then when it didn’t improve, I started panicking, and almost hyperventilating. That continued for the entire race. I never once felt like I took a full breath in. And I don’t really know why. I do know that it was a crazy weather day. 65 degrees, 80% humidity, there was a lot in the air, it drizzled, it was windy, it poured down rain. But my breathing was what felt like my biggest obstacle for 26.2 miles.

My body struggled. I started hurting way, way too early. I was already sore by mile six. MILE SIX. This still makes no sense to me.

Lastly, I ran the entire race alone. And that was so, so hard. I’m not someone who can’t run alone, but I do run with a buddy or a group for a good portion of training. And when the going gets tough (as it did) it helps to have someone there to encourage you, and give you a reason to keep going. I needed that for this race, and I just didn’t have it.

Taylor and Alli were waiting for me at mile 10. When I made it to them, I broke down crying. I didn’t know why it felt so hard, and I didn’t know why I couldn’t catch my breath. Taylor walked with me for a few minutes, encouraged me, reminded me to drink water, and helped me pull myself together. Then I (slowly) took off again.

Around mile 16 or 17, I saw Emily. I’d completely forgotten that her brother had decided to run, and that she and her family would be there. Cue even more  tears. And a whole lot of  “I can’t do it!” and “I am never doing this again.


But she was sweet as can be, and super encouraging, and seeing her definitely lifted my spirits. Also – look how cute she is in her bride hat. Really though.


I saw Taylor and Alli again around mile 19, where I told him that at this point, I was basically stopping to walk every mile. The ONLY reason I hadn’t given up yet was because I was not about to go through all this suffering without a medal.

To make things even more interesting, around mile 20, the rain made an appearance. When it started coming down, I literally started laughing out loud. I was absolutely delirious from the pain of the past 20 miles, and it seemed only fitting that I’d have to spend the last hour of running soaking wet and stomping through puddles.

Truly comical.


I’m not lying when I say that the only enjoyable part of this race was the last .2 miles. Anyone who has run any race of any kind knows that once the finish line is in sight, everything changes.

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And just like that, it was over!

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And of course, my BFF was tracking me along the way. And I gave her the “marathons are so fun you should try one sometime” face.

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And the stats for all you numbers geeks.

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No, this isn’t at all the race I was hoping for. And Dallas Marathon holds no happy memories for me. It was hard. Almost impossibly hard. And I felt weak, not just physically, but mentally.

I don’t know if I’ll run another marathon again. Part of me says that two is plenty. But of course, another part of me really wants to know what it would feel like to finally run a sub-4. We’ll see, I guess. For now I’m just basking in the post-marathon glory.

Wait. Did I say glory? I meant soreness. Post-marathon soreness.



  • Congrats on your race! How you felt is exactly how I felt during the one half marathon I ran… just tired and it was humid, but a marathon is a marathon!

    I’d love to run another half/a full marathon, but I’ve had runner’s knee for more than a year now and have to get that all fixed up first … my goal is two years from now based on how my recovery has gone so far :/

    -E @ amie-eo.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Congrats on toughing it out! That in and of itself is an accomplishment. I was out there pacing a few friends and I saw a lot of people struggling. There was a 2 mile stretch between 20 and 22 that I did 3 times (first with a friend who needed and got a sub-3:30, then with a friend who wanted a 4:30 and got a 4:41, and then a friend who wanted a 5:30 and got a 5:15), so as I was jogging the shortcut back to mile 20 each time to pick up my next friend, I saw a lot of people I knew along the way, and SO MANY were having a rough time. I know the temps were okay, but that humidity was tough. I ended up in the downpour with the last of my friends I was pacing and she had the same reaction as you — she just laughed.ReplyCancel

  • Congrats on finishing! I felt the same way during and after my first marathon. I really wanted a sub-4, but things just din’t go my way. I said I would never do another one, but now (2 years later), I really want that sub-4.

    Rumor has is that chocolate and wine are great for curing post-marathon soreness :) ReplyCancel

  • I’m so impressed with you. Not only did you run 26.2 miles, but you ran 26.2 miles while miserable the whole time! You could have quit, you could have walked away from it yet you spend 4 1/2 hours of your day working to complete something that was NOT EASY for you. I’m impressed. Thing is, it had nothing to do with how you trained. That’s what is nuts about race day – you put the training in, you “did you time” – and what happens on race day can sometimes be a cruel joke.

    Thanks for sharing your recap :) ReplyCancel

  • wow that sounds less fun and i’m sorry you never caught your breath! that’s making me need to take deep breaths right but SUPER impressed that you finished it so celebrate the hell out of that!ReplyCancel

  • Girl you should still be so proud of yourself! Marathons are HARD. HARD. HARD. I’m so proud of you for sticking it out and finishing strong! a 4:38 is NOTHING to be ashamed of! That is a fantastic time! Was this a PR or no? Either way, you finished your SECOND marathon…do you know how many people have done that? Not many!!!ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      No, definitely not a PR, my first marathon time was 4:19, which is why this one is a little disheartening. But from the people I’ve talked to, it was a tough race day for a LOT of people, which makes me feel better! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Congrats!! I’m sorry it didn’t go how you would have liked, but awesome job pushing through and finishing!ReplyCancel

  • Sorry it did not go how you wanted!! I know that feeling all too well especially after having done 11 of them…it’s definitely a humbling experience more than anything else and that’s kinda why I like the challenge of 26.2. I have a feeling you will do another one but just know you did phenomenal!! Don’t be hard on yourself. You stayed strong and put in the work! Again, congrats!!ReplyCancel

  • I don’t care what you say, I’M impressed. Honeybadger don’t give a shit. Seriously impressed, and inspired. You and your blog are a big part of the reason that I decided that my upcoming Half at Cowtown is going to be just the first of many races to come – so I really hope you keep running, too :) Also I decided to be a stalker and signed up for the text tracking because I couldn’t wait until today to see how you did. I wear my stalker badge with pride.ReplyCancel


    I am so proud of you and I don’t even know you in real life. But since we are sharing “not great runs” I want to leave you with this little story.

    My first 5k I ever did had no training whatsoever. It was no c25k – it was just the c back then. So race day my friends and I start off together and then boom, I’m by myself. They finished the 5k in 30 something minutes and then walked backwards to find me – I had no endorphins, no nothing. I was miserable but I finished. It took me over an hour, I popped something in my hip and spent the rest of the night carrying my right leg down Beale Street.

    Shit happens. You are still 26.2 more miles cooler than me.ReplyCancel

  • “The median finishing time for women was 4:41 (10:43/mile pace).” You’re above average. Brag about it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Congrats on finishing!! It’s a big accomplishment no matter what! I LOVE the Netflix marathon sign :) ReplyCancel

  • STOP IT. You just ran a marathon. That is all that matters. Time and all that other shizz can go lick itself. Except for wine and pizza and brownies. Those can stay and be consumed in mass quantities.ReplyCancel

  • YOU ARE TOO STINKIN’ CUTE! Congrats on the marathon, no matter how you finished it. xxReplyCancel

  • You finished and that’s what matters! I hope you wore your medal with your furry crocs and yoga pants to work today.ReplyCancel

  • I’d still be walking to finish if I started at the exact same time you did so just let that sink in. Isn’t your husband a firefighter now? He should have totally picked you us and ran for a mile while carrying you to give you a rest. That’s legal right? You’d still get the medal I’m sure.

    Proud of you!!! Now, go make someone buy you some brownie brittle. ;) ReplyCancel

  • Janet

    YOU FINISHED YOUR SECOND MARATHON!! Congratulations, I know it may be hard but look at how big of an accomplishment running your second marathon is and how many readers you have inspired!ReplyCancel

  • Congrats! Honestly, it’s inspiring and helpful to hear how some badass runners still struggle sometimes. You still ran a freakin marathon!!! :) ReplyCancel

  • Awesome job!! I hate that races just suck sometimes for no good reason. But way to power through!ReplyCancel

  • marathon running is legit. and you’ve finished your are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • helli, rockstar for finishing!! The weather alone made it a tough day… You are totally my hero, whether you do another one or not;)ReplyCancel

  • […] did you run a marathon Sunday? No? Well I did. And I’m tired. So don’t talk to […]ReplyCancel

  • […] // First Post-Marathon Run // It was a cool, crisp night, and a great run with a small group of friends and TAYLOR. I […]ReplyCancel

SO sorry to anyone who tried to visit earlier today and was met with a super rude error message. Hosting issues have been resolved and now we are back to business as usual with Friday Favorites!

Happiest of Fridays to EVERYONE! I’m in an especially good mood for a million different reasons, one of them being that I have the day off. #HOLLA for not being trapped in the office on this gorgeous day. Now buckle up because it’s time for Friday Favorites!


1 // Graduation Day! // Today is was the day! After almost nine months of hard work and and training, Taylor graduated from the Fire Academy and is now an official firefighter for the City of Fort Worth. SWOON.

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I have about a million and one more pictures from this morning’s ceremony, but I’ll bore you with those on Monday. For now I’m just soaking it in, and taking the day to celebrate the best guy around!

2 // Baby Blogger Fans // My sweet friend Lauren texted me this week to inform me that NSB has its first official baby blogger fan. She’s welcome to guest post ANYTIME.

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3 // Taper Week & Dallas Marathon // Welp. In just 48 hours I’ll be embarking on what is sure to be a very interesting race day. Hot. Windy. Rainy. Lovely. It’ll be one hell of an adventure.

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This week I’ve been soaking up the taper. Unlike a lot of people, taper week(s) aren’t tough for me. I embrace the hell out rest time. I’m lazy, and I love taking it easy. I love sitting on my butt and “carb-ing up.” I don’t really get the itch to run or feel lazy. This week has been a good one, and I feel good and rested. Mentally, I am nowhere near ready, but hey, ready or not, here 26.2 comes! 

4 // The 2014 Hater’s Guide to The Williams Sonoma Catalog // This has been floating around the internet all week, and for damn good reason. It is hysterical. Read it and try not to pee yourself.

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5 // YOU! // People. The response to Tuesday’s post has been insane. When I clicked publish that morning, I had no idea those words would spread so quickly and resonate with so many people. Your kindness and your honestly have meant the WORLD to me. The beauty of this weird little internet world is not lost on me, and I love you all to pieces.


Have the BEST weekend everyone!



  • Hooray! Back in action! Congratulations to Taylor on his graduation – I’m sure today is a remarkable day for the both of you.

    And also GOOD LUCK on your race! I’ll be anxiously awaiting your race report. :) ReplyCancel

  • YAAAAAY CONGRATULATIONS TAYLOR!!!!! Um I love you and I miss you and good luck I know you’re going to kick ass in the marathon this weekend.ReplyCancel

  • Good luck, ROCK it and have the best time!! 26.2 joyride baby!! I’ll be cheering you on from Coppell!! I am sure you know where that is, yes? HAHA!!!ReplyCancel

  • good luck tomorrow girlie!!!! You will be great!! And congrats to Taylor!!!ReplyCancel

  • Loribeth

    I just stumbled across your blog and love it! As a runner (1 marathon, 4 half marathons, and Cross Country in school) I like your race recaps and stories. And as a bride to be (20 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Ah!!!!!!!!!) I loved reading your proposal stories and the pictures from the wedding. I just wish I had some of that Texas weather for running now……’s a chilly 40 degree day in Tennessee with some wind! Congrats, and hope to keep reading your blog!ReplyCancel

    • natalie

      Oh man, I would kill for 40 degrees, that is my sweet spot!ReplyCancel

  • Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    I made Friday favorites! I win the internet! I love you! That is all.ReplyCancel

  • That last picture is ADORABLE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. <3 <3ReplyCancel